Ethiopia: Cuisine and Recipes

Country | Ethiopia Lalibela Image

The cuisine of Ethiopia is one of the world's best kept secrets. Ethiopian food is a spicy mix of vegetable and lentil stews and slow-simmered meats. Straddling the Rift Valley of East Africa, Ethiopia has been called the "Land of Bread and Honey."

Image Creative Commons by mexikid

Ethiopian Recipes


(Ethiopian red pepper spice paste)

Berberé, along with niter kibbeh, supplies one of the unique flavors of Ethiopian cuisine. There really is no substitute. Use as many of the spices as you have, but try to use fenugreek and the dried peppers or paprika. They supply an essential flavor. Read more »

Doro Wat

Poultry | Doro Wat

(Ethiopian chicken in red pepper paste)

Doro wat is perhaps the best known food from Ethiopia and is often referred to as that country's national dish. This recipe makes a very tasty version with a deep, rich flavor and tender chicken pieces. Making your own homemade berberé is not difficult and is essential to give the dish the proper flavor. Read more »


Dairy | Iab Ethiopian Cheese Image

(Ethiopian fresh cheese)

Iab (sometimes spelled aiyb or ayib) is a fresh cheese similar to cottage cheese. It's cooling flavor is the perfect foil for many spicy Ethiopian dishes. Iab is often served as the finish to an Ethiopian meal. Read more »

Mesir Wat

Ingredients | Red Lentils Image

(Ethiopian red lentil puree)

Mesir, or lentil, wat is one of several types of bean or lentil stews that are served with Ethiopian meals. They are especially popular during fasting days and the meatless period of Lent. Read more »

Niter Kibbeh

(Ethiopian spiced clarified butter)

Niter kibbeh — a spice-infused, clarified butter — is a ubiquitous cooking medium in Ethiopian cuisine. It adds an incomparable flavor to dishes. Plain butter or oil can be substituted in Ethiopian recipes if you don't have the time to make niter kibbeh, but something special will be missing. Read more »

Quick Injera

Breads | Injera

(Ethiopian sourdough crepe)

This recipe approximates the true injera, which is made from a fermented sourdough batter. Most recipes don't call for the lemon juice, but I find it necessary to supply the essential sour flavor that real injera adds to a meal. Read more »

Shiro Wat

(Ethiopian split green pea puree; see Mesir Wat recipe)

Sik Sik Wat

(Ethiopian beef stewed in red pepper paste; see Doro Wat varaitions)


Beverages | Tej Image

(Ethiopian honey wine)

Tej, or tejj, is an Ethiopian sweet wine, similar to mead, that is made from fermented honey and a special kind of hops called gesho. It is traditionally served from a vase-like vessel called a berele. If you can't find tej or mead in your neighborhood, this recipe is a rough approximation. Read more »


Ingredients | Flaxseed Image

(Ethiopian flaxseed beverage)

Telba is a healthy and refreshingly creamy beverage. Be careful how much you drink, though. Telba is a mild laxative. Read more »

Yataklete Kilkil

Vegetables | Yataklete Kilkil Image

(Ethiopian gingered vegetable stew)

Yataklete kilkil, also known as yatakilt alicha, is a popular vegetarian, or ye'tsom, dish in Ethiopia, especially during Lent. Read more »

Yemarina Yewotet Dabo

Ingredients | Honey Image

(Ethiopian spiced honey bread)

This tender, lightly sweet loaf makes good use of Ethiopia's abundant honey. Leftovers make excellent French toast. Read more »